The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a natural wonderland that offers a wide range of activities and adventures for visitors of all ages during their vacation in Tennessee, from camping to fishing and more. One of the most popular activities in the park is hiking, and there are many different trails to choose from. Whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll through the woods or something a bit more challenging that will take you all the way to the summit, you’re sure to find the perfect trail for you in the Smokies.
When you stay at Camp Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge in Pigeon Forge, you'll be perfectly positioned to access the best hiking and walking trails in the park. For some inspiration, here are our top picks:
Laurel Falls Trail
Set out on one of the park’s most popular trails, Laurel Falls Trail. This 2.6-mile round-trip trail ends at a beautiful waterfall and features relatively gradual terrain. The trail is also paved for the first half-mile, making it partially accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.
Alum Cave Trail and Mount LeConte Trail
For something a bit more challenging than Laurel Falls, set out on the 4.4-mile round-trip Alum Cave Trail. Along the way, discover fascinating rock formations, including Arch Rock, and take in scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
Rainbow Falls Trail
Settle in for a longer hike on the 5.4-mile round-trip Rainbow Falls trail, ending at a picturesque waterfall. Although the trail is moderately difficult, with steep sections and rocky terrain, the waterfall and views along the way make it well worth it.
Cades Cove Loop
If you prefer something more leisurely, consider walking (or biking!) The scenic 11-mile Cades Cove Loop. This paved road takes you through a historic valley with plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife, explore historic sites and take in the scenery. The loop closes to car traffic on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May to September, so if possible, plan your visit around one of these days.
Chimney Tops Trail
An iconic trail in the park, Chimney Tops Trail is a bit more challenging with close to 1,500 feet of elevation gain over the span of 2 miles, but it takes next to winding streams and close to the mountain’s rocky peak where breathtaking views await.
Ramsey Cascades Trail
Ramsey Cascades Trail is a challenging 8-mile round trip trail that leads to the tallest waterfall in the park, Ramsey Cascades. The trail is steep and rocky, with a total elevation gain of 2,200 feet, but along the way, hikers will pass through lush old-growth forests and discover several stunning smaller waterfalls.
Andrews Bald Trail
Andrews Bald Trail is a moderate 3.6-mile round trip trail that leads to a beautiful grassy bald with panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. The trail is fairly gradual, beginning with a descent to the bald, but on return, hikers will gain a total of 900 feet. Not only is the bald an excellent spot to spend an afternoon with a picnic or watch the sunset, but the parking lot at the trailhead also services the breathtaking Clingman’s Dome lookout—the highest point in the park
No matter which trails you choose, it's important to come prepared with appropriate footwear and water and snacks to keep you fueled up. Be sure to check the weather forecast, trail conditions and closures before you set out and always stay on designated trails to protect the park's delicate ecosystem.
At the end of a long day of hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains, return to Margaritaville RV Resort & Lodge to relax and recharge. With its comfortable accommodations, fun amenities and convenient location, it's the perfect home base for exploring all the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer.
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